SC slams Manipur police for 'complete breakdown of law and order'; summons DGP
The Supreme Court on Tuesday (August 1) heavily criticised the Manipur police for the ‘unbridled ethnic violence’ in the strife-torn north-eastern state observing that there has been a complete breakdown of law and order and constitutional machinery.
An outraged Supreme Court (SC) has in fact demanded the personal presence of the director general of police (DGP), for its next hearing on August 7 on a bunch of petitions on the mayhem in Manipur.
Also, the SC described the investigation carried out by the state police as “tardy” and “too lethargic”.
Condemning the law enforcement machinery over the unbridled ethnic violence, it said the state police has lost control over the law and order situation and demanded the personal presence of the DGP in court when it hears a bunch of petitions on the mayhem on Manipur on Monday.
The bench headed by Chief Justice D Y Chandrachud, which had called as “deeply disturbing” the May 4 video of two women being paraded naked, sought details from the state government about the date of occurrence of the incident and registration of zero FIR and regular FIR in the case.
It also wanted to know how many accused were named in the over 6,000 FIRs registered so far and the steps taken for their arrest.
“The investigation is so lethargic, FIRs are registered after so long, arrests not made, statements not recorded…There is a complete breakdown of law and order and constitutional machinery in the state,” a bench headed by Chandrachud remarked orally.
Delay in registering FIR
Tension had soared in Manipur, tormented by unabated ethnic violence, after a May 4 video surfaced recently that showed two women from one of the warring communities being paraded naked by a mob from the other side.
“One thing is very clear that there is long delay in registering FIR in video case,” Chandrachud remarked orally.
As the hearing began, the Manipur government told the bench it has lodged 6,523 FIRs after ethnic violence erupted in Manipur in May.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Centre and the Manipur government, told the bench the state police lodged a zero FIR in the case of stripping and parading of the two women naked.
A zero FIR can be lodged at any police station irrespective of its territorial jurisdiction which is later transferred to the police station within whose limits an incident has happened.
Mehta told the top court the Manipur police have arrested seven people, including a juvenile, in the video case. It appears that the state police recorded the statement of the women after the video surfaced, Mehta told the bench.
CBI told not to record statements of two women
Earlier in the day, the top court directed the CBI not to proceed with recording the statements of the victim women during the day, as it is scheduled to hear a batch of petitions on the issue at 2 pm.
The bench, which also comprises justices J B Pardiwala and Manoj Misra, took note of the submissions by lawyer Nizam Pasha, appearing for the two women, that the CBI has asked them to appear and depose before it during the day.
The top court had on Monday described as “horrendous” the video amid reports that the police handed the helpless women over to the rioting mob. It asked searching questions about delayed registration of the FIR and mooted the idea of setting up a committee of retired judges or an SIT to oversee the probe.
Scores of people have been killed and several hundred injured since ethnic violence broke out in Manipur on May 3 when a Tribal Solidarity March was organised in the hill districts to protest against the majority Meitei community’s demand for Scheduled Tribe status.